Robo Investing – The Customers’ Perspective

My Money is important to me

Perhaps I’m only investing or saving a small amount of money (or what might seem like a small amount to you) but that money is important to me. I need to know who you are and about your credentials. What would happen if you went out of business? How would I get to my money? Am I protected? Your catchy brand may have got me to you but I need to know you are a serious business and I want to get to know more about you before I will trust you with my money. Do you have a pedigree?

My personal data is mine!

Why are you asking me so many questions about my personal situation? Do you really need all that information, how will you use it and is it secure? Who will you be sharing it with? Don’t expect me to provide all my information without giving me a good reason or giving me feedback along the way. If you really need to ask me all those questions do it in a way that is better than asking me to fill in a form. Engage with me and earn my trust and I will share with you.

Enable me to use you wherever and whenever

I want to be able to use your services on my PC, Tablet Smartphone etc. I may do different things depending which of these I am using, but your services must be usable on all my devices.

How long is this going to take?

My time is precious and I get interrupted. Help me to understand where I am in the process and if necessary enable me to log back in and continue later.

Are you advising me or just helping me?

Is there a difference? Will you be making a recommendation of what I should do with my money or am I on my own? Will I have to read about the alternatives and then make a decision or will you guide me towards making the right choice for me? Will you be able to get to know me and understand my preferences and tolerance to risk? Will my objectives be met with your recommendations?

Will you be managing my money?

If I trust you with my money will you be managing it for me and if so how will you communicate what you are doing with it? Please make it clear to me what investment permissions I have given you.

Give me a log in code to an area where I feel secure

I need to be able to log into your website site to manage my information (what you probably call my profile) and see how my money is doing.

I’m not stupid, but…………….

Speak to me in language I can understand – don’t bore me. If your process is interesting and informative then I will get more out of the experience. Will there be a blend of on-line and face2face (maybe by video link)?

From small acorns……………..

I may start small but I might have more money to invest, don’t be greedy, let me start with an amount I feel comfortable with – enable me to add more money to my account at any time.

Cincom MiGuide – How to Build Guides – Video

Cincom MiGuide has been built with the business user in mind – watch this 5 minute video to see just how easy it is to build and deploy interactive guides.

email me at for a copy of our solution overview.

NAHAM 2013

naham_2013_version 2

May 15th to 18th I shall be attending the 39th Annual NAHAM Educational Conference and Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia.

NAHAM is the National Association of Healthcare Access Management; Cincom is proud to be associated with NAHAM and for several years has been a sponsor of the annual conference.

I am privileged to be asked to address the board of Directors at their meeting at the start of the conference and will be talking about some of the developments in the use of the Cincom Knowledge Master Technologies by our partners.

In addition I shall be reporting live from the conference in One4TheDitch.

Cincom MiGuide®: A Unique Way to Design and Deliver Automated Advice Online

In the post-RDR world, one of the challenges that financial services companies face in the UK is delivering compliant and effective financial advice on the web using guides built with technology that their financial experts find easy to use.

The answer is a software product designed specifically for this purpose: Cincom MiGuide.

Try our ISA Advisor DEMO to see a guide developed with Cincom MiGuide in action.

Click here to launch the DEMO.

The Challenge:

•             Deliver compliant, automated financial advice online in a cost-effective manner.

•             Provide the advice in a user-friendly way with an engaging customer journey.

•             Adapt quickly and respond to customer feedback.

•             Increase online customer engagement.

•             Improve speed-to-market and achieve fast ROI.

•             Minimise specialist programmers and IT involvement in building the guide process.

The answer: Build your own Intelligent Guides with Cincom MiGuide.

•             Guides are designed and built by your own personal financial subject-matter experts in a user-friendly environment.

•             Processes are represented in an easy-to-understand tree structure.

•             Easy-to-follow question/answer format.

•             Guides are easily tested and modified.

•             Integration with existing technologies.

•             Rapid development time + reduced costs = fast ROI.

•             Full audit trail for each customer interaction.

Intelligent Guides built with Cincom MiGuide contain easy-to-understand trees of questions and answers that can lead to either a specific outcome or a recommendation. Subject-matter experts are able to create and maintain the guides with very little training and no involvement from specialised programmers. This provides a significant improvement over the typical solutions that require programmers and other IT resources.




Big Data in the Big Easy

Probably 15 years behind other industries the new big thing emerging in healthcare is “Big Data” – it may sound like another buzz word but get ready, this is different. Big Data is about sets of data so large or so complex, or constantly changing that traditional analytics just don’t produce the results needed. Data in healthcare is among the most complex. Think about it, over 300 million Americans with an average lifespan of 70 years multiplied by every piece of data every collected. Traditional retrospective analytics do not even come close to what’s needed to mine Big Data for increasing efficiency, improving workflows and most importantly better patient care and outcomes. Predictive analytics are the order of the day.

HIMSS13, in New Orleans, is the premier destination for Healthcare IT. Set in the enormous conference centre – longer than 18 football fields where there Meaningful Use, Clinical and Business Intelligence, Mobile Technology, ICD 10 migration are among many of the hot topics being discussed and demonstrated.

The meaningful use symposiums attracted large animated audiences; how could an incentive programme unveiled just a few short years ago have developed so many rules, intricacies and nuances? One of the strong messages emerging was don’t procrastinate, deadlines are emerging. To get your organization ready get everyone involved.  

President Bill Clinton led a group of visionary keynote speakers and what a great speaker he is, charming, engaging and factual.

Digital Personal Financial Services

The UK’s personal financial landscape changed as the measures set out in the UK’s Retail Distribution Review (RDR) came into effect on the 1st January. But it is not just in the UK that managing your money is a hot topic. People everywhere are changing their expectations about how personal financial services are delivered and are expecting, no, demanding better value for money and greater transparency in the products which are sold to them by Banks, Investment Managers and Financial Advisors. Let’s face it, financial institutions have a bad reputation the world over.

In response to the new paradigm many companies are introducing websites which offer to help manage your financial matters. A recent article in the British Newspaper The Independent gave a good tour around some of the emerging web-based options and of course there are many others.

This is a complex area and those trying to capture the consumer’s attention are using a variety of techniques to lure potential customers to their websites. Offering financial planning tools is a popular and useful option and provides help in getting to grips with managing your money, or maybe more specifically your spending habits! Others offer an on-line financial questionnaire which then leads onto a session with a qualified advisor and the development of a personalised financial plan.

The most ambitious and ground breaking websites offer an automated approach to solving specific areas of personal financial planning. This is a sensitive area and companies offering this type of service are pushing the boundaries of technology and what the regulator will allow. Compliance is a hot subject and in the UK many financial institutions have been fined by the regulator for a variety of mis-selling scandals and don’t want to repeat the experience!

Algorithmic advice is becoming it bit of a buzz word among the providers of these services. But I doubt whether consumers identify with that terminology or even if it accurately describes the process or service being offered.  The most common association of Algorithms in financial services is with the automated trading of securities using an automated process without human intervention. Algorithmic trading is widely used by pension funds, mutual funds, and other buy-side (investor-driven) institutional traders, to divide large trades into several smaller trades to manage market impact and risk.

A special class of algorithmic trading is high-frequency trading, in which computers make elaborate decisions to initiate orders based on information that is received electronically, before human traders are capable of processing the information they observe.  This whole process is sometimes referred to as “black box” trading as the algorithms are hidden from view, are proprietary, and are often very elaborately protected.

To apply this same description to personal financial planning would require personal and financial data to be collected and then processed using the “black box” containing the pre-defined algorithms which would then result in a recommendation. To do this in a compliant manner across the highly complex and varied landscape of personal financial planning is way beyond what we have seen to date in the offerings I have described earlier.

One of the challenges facing those seeking to provide personal financial advice through their website –  after of course the usual challenge of how to get the customer to the site, is  how to build a relationship of trust so that the necessary personal financial data can be collected to enable a recommendation to be made. Most people find financial services boring, don’t trust those selling the products or just simply want to put it off to another day. The provider must either already have trusted status from a pre-existing relationship with the customer or develop such a good customer experience that the customer gets value in providing their personal information. If the site just seeks to conduct a dry on-line fact find so that data can be fed through the black box they will fail to interact with their potential customers. Rather they should take the customer on a journey which is enjoyable and informative. Gathering information and providing help and advice at every stage; in essence digitally replicating the experience of sitting down with a really trusted and experienced financial advisor who understands that the process must be interactive and a two way exchange.

Maybe rather than Algorithmic Financial Advice, Digital Personal Financial Planning will be more readily understood and adopted by the public for the type of services we shall see being provided by the more enlightened providers of Digital Personal Financial Services.


The Changing Landscape of Personal Financial Services

Welcome to One4theDitch


Welcome to my blog where I discuss, among other things, the use of innovative and disruptive technologies to solve real business issues.

I am CEO and founder of GFM Business Solutions Ltd. a specialist consultancy focused on:

Innovative Technology development and implementation;

Sales and Marketing strategy development and implementation;

Sales and Marketing leadership.

I have led a division of a global software company at board level with P & L responsibility. Founded an Independent Financial Advisor business (who were the first in the UK to receive authorisation to trade on-line” with advice”) and held a Senior Management position in a major UK Insurance Company. I am used to operating within the “c” suite and my experience includes identifying new market opportunities and leading the development of innovative technology solutions for the financial services and healthcare sectors.

I hope you find my blog interesting and I welcome your comments.


© All material is copyright Chris Woodhead 2010 / 2016 and may not be reproduced without permission.